phineasandferbcover

Grade:  C+
Entire family:  No

2008-11, 12 episodes (168 min.), Color
Rated TV-G (aimed at younger children)
Disney

Aspect ratio:  1.78:1
Bonus features:  D

Featured audio:  Dolby Digital 2.0

Like Kim Possible, this animated Disney Channel show is aimed at elementary school children ages 6-10 but has a Fairly Oddparents and Pinky and the Brain style that might appeal to older siblings and a throwback vibe to the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons that makes it more tolerable for adults than most kid fare. But I wouldn’t rate this particular release one of the best, nor do all of the episodes have to do with “Animal Agents.”

On the plus side, the humor doesn’t come from disrespectful kids, and the children depicted actually like each other, even if they drive each other crazy from time to time. So from a parent’s perspective, it’s a fairly innocuous show and, let’s be fair, at least it celebrates inventiveness.

Phineas and Ferb are just your average high-energy, highly imaginative boys who believe that every one of their 104 days of summer vacation should be an adventure. So this creative duo invents things on a BIG scale to amuse themselves . . . much to the annoyance of older sister Candace, a love-struck teen who, like the neighbor in the old Bewitched TV series, has made it her mission to somehow convince their parents that the boys have been doing some mighty weird things.

It gets even weirder. They have a pet platypus named Perry who (secretly) just happens to be a secret agent—one of many animal agents whose job it is to secretly take on villains who want to take over the world. Perry’s nemesis is Dr. Doofenshmirtz, whose own inventions always end in “Inator.” One of the evil devices he builds in an episode on this DVD is a “Babe-Inator,” which reduces Phineas and Ferb to mini toddler versions of themselves.

phineasscreenshot350The characters are drawn with a mixture of geometric shapes (Phineas’s head is a simple triangle, for example), a style that, like Kim Possible, is a little edgier than most of the cartoon series Disney has produced for television.

Included on this disc are three episodes from Season 1 (“Bowl-R-Drama,” “Journey to the Center of Candace,” “Traffic Cam Caper”), four from Season 2 (“Cheer Up Candace,” “Isabella and the Temple of Sap,” “Robot Rodeo,” “Vanessassary Roughness”), and five from Season 3 (“Agent Doof,” “Lotsa Latkes,” “What’d I Miss?” “Where’s Perry?” Parts 1 & 2).

In one uninspired episode, Phineas and Ferb build a shrinkable submarine that they intend to use, ala the old film Fantastic Voyage, to go inside the body of a dog to retrieve a lost object. But instead they end up inside Candace. What seems like a decent premise just coasts along. Because, overall, the writing isn’t as clever as other episodes I’ve seen, this DVD will appeal mostly to the low end of the target audience and isn’t a candidate for family movie night. That said, the little ones might like the paper cardboard spy kit with binoculars that Mom or Dad has to assemble.

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